Hello friends, I hope you are well as we all sleepily get back to real life after the revelry of Christmas. Around here, we did a lot of celebrating of different special days– like St. Nicholas Day and St. Lucia Day, especially.
In mid-December we drove up to Lindsborg, Kansas to enjoy their St Lucia Day festival, complete with crowning and procession of a local Lucia. We had attended this festival many years ago when my oldest was five, and this year, the youngest was 5– and it was time to go again!
Lindsborg, Kansas was settled by Swedish immigrants just after the Civil War. The town is little, with hardly a stop light, but it is very big on Swedish history and traditions. There are dala horses on the sidewalks, the local young people learn the traditional swedish dances, and the schools and old Lutheran church combine to celebrate the most beloved of Swedish Christmas traditions, St. Lucia Day.
It wasn’t until I got home that I realized that the 4th graders we saw in our first Lucia procession (you can see some photos of that HERE) are most likely the high school aged kids we saw in this year’s St. Lucia program. That made my little mama heart go “Awwwwww!”
Back at home though, things were definitely in bloom Christmas-wise, and we settled in to enjoy the season (or hang on by our finger nails as the tidal-wave of merry-making approached, however you’d like to view it, haha…)
I brought home a daddy ‘julbok’, or ‘christmas goat’ from Lindsborg…..you can tell it’s a daddy because he’s got a beard– a wheat beard! Love it! 😉
Every year for several years now, even back when we lived in ‘the little house,’ I’ve had a Scandinavian Christmas Tree in my kitchen. It also acts as a ‘safe place’ for precious, breakable baubles I dont trust to be safe on the living room Christmas tree (Kids! Animals! Oh my!)
My big dala horse I found at an antique shop stands guard….over the years I have collected quite an assortment of dala horses! They are a very recognizable symbol of Sweden, traditionally carved in the area of Dalarna. I even have a painting of a dad making a dala horse for sale in my shop, if you’re interested (sure you are!) 😉 It’s also the image for February in my 2020 calendar….
And then, suddenly….as it usually happens….it was Christmas Eve. We attended the evening candlelight service and had dinner with family….cookies were put out for santa, as well as a glass of Almond Milk (just to be on the safe side for Santa’s tummy, you know? 😉 )
For Christmas Day, I made a turkey breast and stuffing, but we served it casually to make sandwiches with. I put most of my effort into the desserts, with a rum cake and my project of the season— a traditional Christmas pudding!
I started the Christmas pudding (shown above, right) just after Thanksgiving. The English have a tradition of ‘stir up Sunday’ when they, almost as an entire nation, ‘stir up’ the pudding and leave it to sit for a few weeks before Christmas.
The pudding, which involves a lot of dried fruit, currents, suet, bread crumbs, and a liberal dose of brandy, is left to ‘ripen’ in a dark corner of the pantry for weeks until it is brought out on Christmas Day, served with whipped cream, and enjoyed by all.
In England, there is a tradition of giving it a final douse of brandy and then setting the whole thing on fire— but I left that part out 😉 I wasn’t about to set something on fire that I’d babied for weeks. Maybe next year?
Ah, but now even the leftovers are gone and it’s time to get back to ‘real life’, and New Year’s Day 2020 is almost at hand. To be honest, I am very much ready to bid 2019 goodbye. Betweens deaths, tornadoes, and big unexpected changes, this has been a roller coaster of a year.
Here’s to this coming new year— new decade— being one of positive change, hope, strength, and the opening of a beautiful new chapter for us all.